Sleep Hygiene for Hyperactive Children

September 23, 2019
Is your child hyperactive? It's likely that he or she also has difficulties sleeping. In this article, you'll learn how to help manage this disorder.

Do you want to know how you can help your hyperactive child to have refreshing, repairing, and good quality sleep? You can use methods that help encourage better sleep hygiene and a healthy sleep routine.

It’s essential to maintain some norms about sleep hygiene with children who are hyperactive. If their insomnia persists, you should see a specialist for an evaluation of their sleep conditions so you can quickly address this problem.

Guidelines for sleep hygiene in hyperactive children

Sleep is different for children and adults. It’s fundamental that children get enough sleep because sleep is intimately related to growth and healthy development in children.

Likewise, not sleeping or having poor sleep has psychological and physical consequences that can affect the child.

children and sleep

It’s essential to have a precise diagnosis from specialists so they can recommend measures that will help children improve their quality of sleep. Some of the norms can be summarized in the following way:

Establish a series of routines

It’s important to create a healthy sleep routine. Always following the same routine at the same time is important to adjust their biological clock, define vital rhythms, and to gain some control over the child’s sleep patterns.

One solid routine is to shower, eat, read a story, and go to bed.

If your children are at the age where they also go to school, you should be aware that vacation time tends to aggrevate problems with sleep because the child’s schedules and routines change.

Give them a light dinner

Children need to completely digest their meal one or two hours before sleeping. Avoid having them consume foods that contain sugar or caffeine; this may overstimulate them.

Children’s rooms

In sleep hygiene for hyperactive children, it’s very important to pay attention to certain details about their bedroom.

Make sure that they always sleep in the same place, at the same time. It should be a dark and quiet place, far from external noise and at a good temperature.

Their biological clock can be affected by the conditions in the environment. That’s to say that in the dark, the brain secretes substances that stimulate sleep. On the contrary, in the presence of light, the brain stimulates activity and it inhibits sleep.

Children should associate bed with sleep

The bed should be comfortable and firm for the child. Choose adequate bedding and clothing for sleep, preferably loose-fitting pajamas so they feel comfortable.

Create norms for the use of electronic devices

They shouldn’t be doing homework in bed because that is a mental activity. Therefore, video games, television, and other electronic devices should be kept elsewhere; not in the child’s bedroom. You should especially avoid allowing the child to use them before bed.

Sleep Hygiene for Hyperactive Children

The key is to have a lot of patience so that you start to follow a strict routine that helps the children fall asleep by themselves. If they happen to wake and get out of bed, have them return to bed and lie down but without scolding them.

If children cry, try to resist the urge to go and check on them right away. Let some minutes go by before you go in and calm them. When they’re calm you should leave them alone again.

Neuro-cognitive stimulation

This is a non-pharmaceutical treatment that works on the neurological connections that are involved in sleep. This contributes to developing certain capacities in the brain to modify the architecture of sleep and to reduce problems that are preventing the child from sleeping. It’s an effective aid for childhood insomnia.

The behavior of children with hyperactivity and their sleep problems

These children have difficulties falling asleep and especially staying asleep. What’s more, they’re restless when they’re made to stay in bed. They’re highly unstable and unpredictable when it comes time to sleep, and during the day they can be sleepy as a result.

The consequences of insomnia in hyperactive children

Childhood insomnia causes attention deficits and learning difficulties. Hyperactive children have difficulties concentrating and controlling their impulses.

In addition, they can also have difficulties controlling their emotions or interiorizing language, and they have little capacity for extracurricular activities or extra work. They’re also moody and quickly change from being happy to irritable and anxious. They’re the most likely to have other disorders or conditions.

In sum, children can develop a healthy sleep routine even if they have a tendency to be hyperactive. It’ll just take some discipline in sticking to a healthy schedule so their bodies and minds can adjust and make it easier for them to wind down and rest.

  • Del Valle, M. O. (2012). El sueño en la edad preescolar y su repercusión en el desarrollo, la conducta y el aprendizaje. Revista Cubana de Higiene y Epidemiología.